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English Placement

Penn State requires that all students take a first-year composition course that can be satisfied by ONE of the following:

  • ENGL 15 (Rhetoric and Composition);
  • ENGL 30 (Honors Freshman Composition);
  • CAS/ENGL 137H (Rhetoric and Civic Life I); or
  • ESL 15 (ESL/Composition for American Academic Communication II).

If English is your second language, you may schedule either ENGL or ESL composition courses.

There is no English placement test. At NSO, you will work with an adviser to determine your appropriate English placement. Your SAT-READ scores will be used as a guide for your placement. However, these scores are not prescriptive. Previous English coursework is also a factor in scheduling a first-year composition course.

Most students demonstrate adequate preparation and are placed into ENGL 15. If you demonstrate strong preparation, you may be encouraged to take an honors composition course. If your SAT-READ scores indicate weakness in your preparation, you may need to schedule ENGL 4 (Basic Writing Skills) before scheduling ENGL 15. Students enrolled in ENGL 4 or ENGL 15 may also concurrently schedule ENGL 5 (Writing Tutorial), a 1-credit course that offers additional writing support.